On the First of October there were some big changes to the laws surrounding Intestacy (the distribution of an estate if there is no Will for guidance).
Here are the main headline changes and how they could affect you.
- If your spouse or civil partner dies and you have no children, the entirety of their estate now passes to you. Before the changes, extended family had rights to half of anything over a threshold of £450,000 but these rights have now been abolished. This is important if you or your partner plans on helping out a sick or elderly relative if you were to pass away first – you can no longer rely on any money going to them in the absence of a will.
- Children of married couples and civil partners now get less of a share should one of their parents pass away. Under the old rules, children would get everything over £250,000, with the spouse earning interest payments on half of that amount. The new laws mean that children now only get half of anything over £250,000 and the remainder goes to the spouse absolutely. The children will still only be able to access the money when they reach 18 years old.
- If a parent of a child under the age of 18 dies and the child is subsequently adopted before they reach 18, the old rules meant that there was a risk that their inheritance would slip through the cracks. The laws have now been clarified to ensure that these children definitely receive their share of the estate.
- The “Pecking Order” where there are children has also changed, with priorities now fixed like this:
1. Children or their descendants
3. Brothers or sisters or if none their descendants
4. Half siblings or if none their descendants
6. Uncles and/or aunts or if none their descendants
7. Half uncles and/or aunts or if none their descendants
8. Whole estate passes to the crown
If you need help with writing a will, or if you’d like more information on the changes above, give us a call on 0800 781 6658